WHERE TO? Botswana? Tanzania? South Africa?


Dec 3rd, 2013, 02:31 PM
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WHERE TO? Botswana? Tanzania? South Africa?

Got one Africa trip in me. But where to go?? I am interested in luxury tenting, small hotel stays, seeing animals (lions would be nice...) meeting tribal people, and getting out of any big city as fast as possible! Not a prima donna traveler by any means, but I do like a bed and shower, and all at a reasonable price. So, fodorites - what country/counties in Africa? And, if you have a travel company that you loved , send that info along too. Most likely will be traveling at the end of 2014/beginning of 2015. thanks Anne
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 09:03 PM
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Anne, Tanzania has all that you are looking for, last month my vacation took me to Serengeti national park, Ngorongoro, lake manyara ended up with the beach relaxation in Zanzibar, The game drives and balloon trip in Serengeti are most interesting, i also visited the Maasai Bomas and Hazabe trip living at Lake Eyasi, all this was organised bu Green Africa Tours you can contact them at [email protected]

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Dec 4th, 2013, 01:10 AM
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All countries are super, I will much advice of Tanzania an amazing destination. Talking end of 2014/2015 Dec/Jan is the best time to follow up on the great Migration and when the Parks have its green and warm weather. Mention of its 125 tribes, you can't leave out The Masai- dances, bomas and daily activities scattered almost in every part of Arusha/Manyara and on the Parks(Tarangire, Manyara and Ngorongoro), Hadhzabe hunting and gathering tribe and many other which you can mix with your safari. For Tour Operator I used Happy World Safaris (www.happyworldsafaris.com, Joseph was our contact person. I highly recommend them, great services and warmth staff. They exceeded my expectations.
Consider the Northern Safari Circuit(Arusha, Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti)
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Dec 4th, 2013, 06:15 AM
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thank you! Will follow up on the suggestions. Anyone else want to jump in? How about Botswana?
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Dec 4th, 2013, 08:44 AM
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Not sure that the Migration is in Tanzania in that timeframe above (Dec/Jan) right now they're in Kenya. I was in TZ for the migration mid-Feb last year and saw them mostly in Ndutu, so the itinerary that Cruise suggests (Tarangire, Manyara, Ngorongoro with Serengeti) is what we did in Feb. specifically for the migration.

Botswana is on my list, but not until I go to Kenya next year.
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Dec 4th, 2013, 08:54 AM
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Hi Anne,
Would you consider Zimbabwe? Great value for money at the moment and some really non commercialised experiences. Being Zimbabwean and involved in the travel industry here I can personally vouch that it is safe and a great spot to travel to from a safari, conservation, cultural and scenery perspective.
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Dec 4th, 2013, 11:10 AM
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hi luke. I am considering everything but Kenya due to occasional murdering of tourists. Please send more info.
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Dec 4th, 2013, 11:32 AM
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... and Kenya was just voted #1 Safari destination.
And NO, annegizer - tourists are not being killed or targetted.
Have their been some incidents? Yes, but these are one-out and not usual. No more that the number of people killed in your own city any day of the year. Likewise, the incident at Westgate (terrorists, not by Kenyans), also can sadly be compared to the many terrorist incidents worldwide or shootings we unfortunately have in the US by mentally derranged individuals. Sure doesn't keep tourists from visiting any of these destinations.

However, it's most rare than if/where such has happened in Kenya are not areas where tourists visit.

But if you plan to travel end '14/early '15, and the 'calving' of the migrating wildebeest is of interest, then Tanzania is the place to be and it's not too early to start planning to assure space. Unless you plan to travel with a group with a 'set' itinerary/routing, where you visit and their selection of lodge/tents, as a solo traveler expect that single supplement for a private safari you design for yourself.

Pick up a copy of Fodor's Complete Safari Planning Guide for details about the various safari countries; if for Kenya the Rough Guide or Brandt's Tanzania for lots of useful information.

So you have e ot
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Dec 5th, 2013, 02:15 AM
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Anne - I've been to TZ, Kenya, Rwanda, Botswana and Zimbabwe. All are great for various reasons. I prefer East Africa personally. Botswana would be the most expensive destination, although has the fewest tourists so you really don't have to worry about the crush of other vehicles when an animal is spotted - this is not true of E.Africa.

Having just been to Kenya during the migration this past summer, I would never do that again. The Masai Mara was insane with vehicles and crazed tourists trying to see a crossing and get their precious photographs. You can see plenty of animals during non-migration times of the year. If you are most interested in lions I would concentrate on Tanzania or Kenya - I saw the fewest lions in Botswana compared to E. Africa (not sure about SA). I would not discount Kenya due to the recent terrorist activities - this could happen anywhere you travel.

You can click on my user name if you want to read my trip reports. Happy planning
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Dec 5th, 2013, 06:38 PM
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Have you been to South Africa?
Self drive in Kruger Nat Park is great. Then followed by several days in two camps in the Sabi Sand and/or Timbavati reserves. You will see the big five, especially lions, up close, personal, and often.

regards - tom
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Dec 8th, 2013, 07:37 AM
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We have done three safaris. Kenya and N. Tanzania. Southern Tanzania. And Botswana. Of the three, we saw the most game in Botswana. On the last two trips (which I planned alone) we spent approximately the same amount of time and money. Botswana isn't cheap so you have to shop wisely, but we had an amazing trip to 5 Wilderness Safari camps in the Delta.

My suggestions:
- spend more time in fewer places to max your game opportunities (ie. 5 nights in each of 2-3-4 camps, instead of moving every two days)
- travel during the green season to save money
- stick with one camp outfitter to max the price benefits (ie. Wilderness Safari, Selous Safari, or Kwando)
- set your itinerary and shop it around. There's a lot of wiggle room on pricing. Some agents will negotiate, some won't. Find out which agents do the most business with your preferred outfitter. They get better pricing.
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Dec 8th, 2013, 02:52 PM
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thanks everyone. i will try to get on this asap. there is a lot to do and think about
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Dec 9th, 2013, 06:48 PM
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Definitely recommend Botswana. Not cheap but wonderful in every way possible.
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Dec 13th, 2013, 09:38 PM
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Botswana is the place to go. Camps are luxurious, and the Game viewing is fantastic. On many game drives I have been on I have seen Elephant, Giraffe, Hippo, Buffalo, Baboons, Lions, Leopard, Wild Dogs, dozens of different bird species, even a female cheetah and 2 cubs on one drive and many more species.

There is a small travel agency in Botswana called Rides on the Wild Side www.ridesonthewildside.com Although primarily for horse riding safaris the owner may be able to put help you with a non horse riding safari. Send her an email from the site with an idea of an idea of an itinerary. With 20 years in the tourism industry, 15 of those years being in Maun she may be able to help.
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Dec 19th, 2013, 09:11 PM
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Annergizer, somehow I thought you had been to some of these places.

"I am interested in luxury tenting:"BOTS is tops. The perm luxury tents is outstanding. Consider a tented mobile to save $. Still luxury. TANZ is really good to for tented camps.

"small hotel stays:" SOUTH AFRICA

"seeing animals:" ALL

"(lions would be nice...)" ALL. If you’d like to see them up a tree, TANZ is best bet

meeting tribal people: My least opportunities for culture have been in BOTS. Township visits (not really tribal) are easiest in SOUTH AF. Phinda in SOUTH AF organizes interesting Zulu village and cultural visits and is very involved with the surrounding community. Opportunities for Maasai visits are in Tanz. I just stuck this lengthy cultural link into a different post.


" and getting out of any big city as fast as possible:" ALL One advantage of SOUTH AF for some people would be the ability to include Cape Town. It seems that would not be a drawing card for you.

"bed and shower, and all at a reasonable price." You may want to consider a luxury mobile in BOTS to maintain a reasonable price, as opposed to the permanent tented camps. The mobiles are great and it is probably the only way I'll get back to BOTS due to cost. Most reasonable cost would be a SOUTH AF self drive. If you are interested in a privately guided trip, then TANZ would be the most reasonable.

"end of 2014/beginning of 2015:" That time can be good for the wilde migration in TANZ. Slightly later would be better.

Check out the weather with these links


Chart is well down the page, one for temps and one for rain in Serengeti

Chart well down the page, one for temps and one for rain in Ngorongoro Crater

Summing up all the weather and animal viewing into one chart, look here:

Southern Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation area of TANZ get the highest marks for when you want to go. I’ve made the choice more than once to go to these regions about the time of year you are considering. But just a little later.

For your “reasonable” cost criteria if you can avoid between Christmas and New Years, it will help. TANZ is high season/cost in January and BOTS is not. I think it is fairly high season for local people in SOUTH AF end of Dec and early Jan.

“if you have a travel company that you loved” I am going again with Guide George to TANZ for the 3rd time in as many years. George is now with The Wild Source.
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Dec 23rd, 2013, 03:30 AM
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Hi Anne,
I would definitely recommend Botswana, depending on when exactly you plan to go.
You say "end of 2014/beginning of 2015", the best time to go there is usually from April through October. Here's some more useful info - africa.com/botswana/travel#t3
Good luck and happy traveling!
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Dec 26th, 2013, 12:38 PM
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atravelynn - have been trying to get in touch with you. If you see this, please email me at [email protected]. Thanks for all the info but would like to ask a few more questions in a non-forum venue
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Dec 27th, 2013, 01:21 PM
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Ann, Atravelynn also posts on Safaritalk.com You can send her a private message from that sight. You may have to open an account there to do it, but its a great sight for planning Africa.

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Dec 28th, 2013, 01:48 PM
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I swooped in from safaritalk and have replied to you, Ann, via email.

My email is at hotmail with this screen name.
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Dec 30th, 2013, 04:00 PM
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I don't know why folks say there are no lions in Botswana. I saw MORE there and in larger prides (and small couple week old cubs) than in any of my trips to Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania.

You won't get tribal visits; but many of the staff are from very small villages with very interesting backgrounds, cultures and interests. If you take the time to get to know them between game drives you will find yourself with new friends, not just a show put on for you in a Massai Boma.

Botswana was less expensive than our Kenya safari by going in Green Season ~ November ~ with great weather, guides, amazing tented camps and MORE game than I've ever seen -every day - all day. I'd go back there in a minute.

Agree with Cateyes- unless you have a private guide or go towards Northern Kenya (which is beautiful and game filled with few tourists) the Mara is definitely overcrowded and turns me off. I did however love my time in a conservancy outside the Mara. And more so, Samburu and Laikipia.

Sounds though that Tanzania might be perfect for you. I just wanted to dispell the myth thatthere are no lions in Bots. I sure have plenty of great pics of them....daily. We even had one large male dominant male interrupt our lovely sundowners by strolling right by...Two vehicles meeting up at a water hole; I've never seen guides demanding so emphatically for us to dump the drinks and get in the cars NOW....it was incredible; we followed him until it was too dark to see. I'll never forget our interruped sundowner. We found him the next day running the local "boys" off the territory and bringing down a buffalo. No lions? - phooey.

Agree with the Sandi, Kenya is perfectly safe for safari travelers. Just dont wander into downtown by yourself. There is no need to go to a mall while on safari!!

There are so many options available; just have fun reading and no matter what, Africa is addictive and you will be going back!

Just my 2c...
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